Chasing the Asia Player of the Year title

It's that time of year where the PokerStars LIVE Macau prepares for its biggest annual tournament series - the 2013 Asia Championship of Poker (Oct. 18-Nov. 3). It's become a really important time for both financial and personal goals.

Last year I just missed the money in the HK $100k Main Event and it was really upsetting for me. Not because I didn't cash but because I had hopes of becoming Asia Player of the Year (APOY).

I had finished in 6th and 11th on the APOY rankings in previous years and entered that ACOP in the Top Ten. Leading up to the Main Event I was playing well and made two final tables in side events which put me in 3rd place - just one solid finish away from ending the year as No. 1.


Now many recreational poker players feel like the pros are inhuman and that we deal with the frustrations of the game without emotion. The reality is that all pros go through disappointment when they fail to achieve their goals. Regardless of how good you are, having your opponent hit a 2-outer against you isn't just something that might happen but over many hands is something that must happen -- that's the nature of the game.

So back to last year. It was Day 3 and I had 20 big blinds with pocket queens, and my opponent had the chip lead and held ace-king. We got it all in and I busted three from the money. It was one of those very common situations but it hurt more than all the 2-outers I can think of.

Some people might have been upset about missing out on a minimum-cash that they could have folded to, but that's not what I was playing for. My goal was a minimum of reaching final table and gaining precious APOY points.

The Asia Player of the Year has become more and more prestigious in Macau in addition to getting much harder to win each year with all the player fields increasing. I can't remember a time I've been more frustrated than that moment. Frankly, I was an emotional disaster that day and was wondering when I'd be in position to contend for APOY again.

Of course, I pulled myself together and enjoyed a wonderful Christmas break where I got married, bought a house, and refocused myself entering the 2013 season. I was ready to compete again and that's what you have to do if you want to play poker for a living.
I've worked hard this year to hit a few career milestones and wouldn't you know it, I'm entering next week's ACOP ranked No. 14.

Here we go again!

Celina Lin is a member of Team PokerStars Pro

Celina Lin
@PokerStars in Celina Lin